Suggestions from Donors

A few weeks ago at a meeting of our local Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter, we had a panel of donors to provide insight into their giving. The last few questions focused on their suggestions for fundraising professionals. While certainly not scientific and certainly not representative of all donors, I found their feedback informative and thought you might enjoy it as well.

What recognition are you looking for and is it important to you?

The feedback on this was mixed. One family represented saw names on buildings being very appealing. Another family said that they found it completely unimportant. One person pointed out that recognition of one person / family can inspire others to give. But everyone agreed that their pursuit in giving was not of the recognition, but because it makes a positive difference in our communities.

What suggestions / expectations do you have of development officers?

  • Ensure that the materials you produce match the character of the organization. It’s not important to spend money on expensive printing / production.
  • Connect us to the end user so that we can see the impact of our giving
  • Challenge grants are a fun way to engage us (both providing funding for the initial challenge – or providing a match)
  • Mass mailings will not attract a major gift from us
  • We give to organizations we are already familiar with (and rely on research from the community foundation)

What are your happiest moments related to your giving?

  • Sharing stories about impact
  • Recognizing that the more we give away, the more we receive (when you believe it)
Is it important who asks for the gift?
  • Relationships help – if it’s someone you know and trust
  • The right person asking lends credibility to the cause
  • With leadership giving, it’s ALL about relationships


Suggestions from Donors — 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this Kirsten. It reminds us all that donor needs are very personal.

    A really really interesting piece of data was the influence of the local community foundation — I’m guessing not only in the research they provide about community conditions, but also in who they fund and who they think is doing good work. Advice to Executive Directors and Development Directors…pay attention to that critical relationship.

  2. Kirsten, this is great insider info. Thanks so much for sharing.

    I often visit with guests after galas and will prompt them to talk about why they gave (always holding my video camera) and then I share that feedback with nonprofits and schools.

    It never fails, those “hallway” conversations shed so much light on a donor’s motives.

    Kudos to the local AFP chapter for taking time to put the panel together.

  3. I love those kinds of programs at AFP! It’s great to hear the honest feedback from donors about what they want and don’t want. It reminds of how individual they are and how one size does not fit all.